West Bancorp., Inc. (NASDAQ:WTBA) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Jan 24, 2020 • 11:00 am ET


West Bancorp., Inc. (NASDAQ:WTBA) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Good morning and welcome to the West Bancorp Quarterly Earnings Call. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Doug Gulling. Please go ahead.

Douglas R. Gulling

Okay, thank you. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us this morning. On the call today are Dave Nelson, our CEO; Brad Winterbottom, our -- West Bank President; Harlee Olafson, our Chief Risk Officer; and Jane Funk, our Chief Accounting Officer.

I'll begin with our fair disclosure statement. Comments made during this conference call may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any forward-looking statement made by us during this call is based only on information currently available to us and speaks only as of today's date. The Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update such statements to reflect current events or circumstances after this call or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

And at this time, Dave Nelson will start us off.

David D. Nelson

Thank you, Doug. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us. I have some -- just some introductory remarks and then turn it over to others for some more detail. But we had another record year at West Bank. We had loan growth of over 12%, deposit growth of over 6%, our credit quality is incredibly good, and we have a solid pipeline.

Our culture and morale is very strong. And perhaps, what's even more exciting to us than our record year is our expansion into Minnesota and how that's going, and I'm going to give you more detail on that later. But during March of 2019, last year, we started West Banks in three new markets in Minnesota. We didn't enter the market via a traditional acquisition. We didn't pay a premium for an existing book of business. We just started our own banks with, what we believe are, the top bankers in those communities and then recruited community leaders and business owners to service our advocates and created community advisory boards. And through -- with their assistance, we're pleased to say that, in just nine months of operations, we achieved a breakeven and a positive financial run rate.

The net -- or the cost of the expansion during that nine months was $2.8 million. Of course, during that nine months of operations, we were ramping up loans and deposits and had revenues. So, the net cost of the expansion on a pretax basis was $1.7 million. So even despite the earnings drag of the $1.7 million, West Bank still achieved an all-time record year for earnings in our 126-year history. And based on that performance, our Board has approved a quarterly dividend of $0.21 per share with a [Phonetic] payment date of February 19 to owners of record as of February 5.

And with that, I'd like to turn the call over to Brad Winterbottom, our Bank President.

Brad L. Winterbottom

Thanks, Dave. I'm going to apologize in advance, I'm fighting a cold,